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House, Garage, Barn under One Roof
A 16-month tour of duty in France and Austria from 1951 to 1953 gave Francis Tewell of Polk, Neb., the idea to build a house solely for practicality. The house itself is not unusual. What is unusual is that the barn, machine shop and garage are all attached to the house.
Francis and Delores Tewell are dairy farmers. Twice each day they milk a 20-head herd of Holsteins. Throughout the year, winter or summer, rain or shine, accomplishing this does not present any particular difficulty to the Tewells.
Since the Tewell's animals are enclosed under the same roof that protects the Tewells from the elements, a heavy winter storm doesn't mean fighting snow drifts to milk the cows and do other chores. Francis can step out his back door and walk through the garage and machine shop to the stalls where his cows bed down each night and where they stay when a storm is threatening.
The structure (38 ft. wide and 200 ft. long) represents a dream come true for Francis Tewell, recalling memories of farms he saw while stationed in Europe.
Tewell was in France from 1951 to 1953 working as a driver for the United States Army. Every morning he drove four miles out into the country to pick up a chaplain who lived off base on a farm with a European family. "The homes were 300 to 400 years old and a lot of them had barns attached," Francis recalls. He received the idea for his present home in 1953 and began building it in 1974. In 1980 the couple moved in after completing most of the work on the home themselves.
"I'm satisfied with it," Francis notes. "I probably won't be here forever but it's functional and useful. There can be a pretty violent storm out there but it's nice in here."
"It's a dream come true for him," says Delores.
The home sits on 160 acres of rolling farmland. Forty acres are used as pasture land and the rest is farmed in corn, milo and alfalfa to feed the dairy herd.
At 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. the couple milks the herd. A milking machine is used and three cows are milked at one time. "I've been milking off and on for 15 years," Francis explains. The couple's youngest son, Richard, helps his parents with the milking most of the time. Their son's assistance enables the Tewells to take vacations, a luxury many dairy farmers can't have because of the demands of their occupation.
Odor from the barn drifting into the house has not been a problem. The Tewells can close the windows, turn on the air conditioning and forget the barn is attached to the house. "If we were to leave the windows open on a summer night, we would have a terrible smell," Delores points out. Dividing walls between the garage and the barn help keep the living quarters separate from the barn.
Francis says insurance on the structure was no more expensive than if the buildings were separate, and the benefits the place offers in the winter far outweigh any disadvantages it has.
"Any type of livestock operation must be handy to take care of," Francis said. The Tewell dairy farm goes one step beyond qualifying what one normally thinks of as handy.
For more information contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Francis and Delores Tewell, Rt. 1, Polk, Neb. 68654.
Reprinted from Grand Island (Neb.) Daily Independent.


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #2